Excel Academy’s mission is to prepare students to succeed in high school and college, apply their learning to solve relevant problems, and engage productively in their communities.
Excel Academy Charter Schools is a network of tuition-free, public charter schools serving the Massachusetts communities of East Boston and Chelsea. It was founded to address the severe academic underperformance and low college matriculation rates of the student populations in these neighborhoods. Our founders envisioned a free, public school alternative where all students would be held to the highest academic and behavioral expectations, and college would become a reality. As a true public school, Excel is defined not by whom we exclude but by whom we include in our community. We are proud of the fact that we serve many students with special needs.
Over the past seven years, Excel Academy has proven the opportunity gap can be closed. For 6 years in a row, Excel 8th graders have been the top-performers of all 450 Massachusetts public district and charter schools on the state’s MCAS exams.
Since its founding, Excel has adopted the identity of being a college-preparatory school — first as a single-site middle school, then as three middle schools, and now as a middle and high school network. Our purpose and theory of change is clear: we believe that a college degree has the potential to fundamentally change our students’ life trajectories and close the opportunity gap that exists between kids growing up in disadvantaged circumstances and those who do not. Excel focuses on college from the day students arrive in 5th grade, and now with a high school of our own, we are closer than ever to ensuring we our students are prepared for a 21st century economy.
Excel Academy’s students are admitted through a blind public lottery process. Excel’s student attrition rates are very low — much lower than the state and local averages. In 2015, 871 students applied for fewer than 300 seats in grades 5-9 at our four schools.
Our students, the majority of whom are children of first generation immigrants, are among the most underserved learners in the cities of Boston and Chelsea. Traditionally, these students score significantly below the state average on annual math and English MCAS examinations. One of the fundamental reasons Excel was created was to address this achievement gap, and we have done so.